Category: Flowers

Mother Nature Gives Spring Bulbs the Heave-Ho!


It’s not unusual for Indiana weather to have trouble deciding what season it is. Warm spells during the dormant period often lead to bulbs poking their foliage (and sometimes flower buds) through the soil. While we’re more used to seeing this happen during February warm spells, our frigid temperatures arrived a bit early in fall 2019, followed by intermittent unseasonably mild weather. Indiana temperatures widely fluctuated in November and December, with the low temperature at […]


February Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check water levels in cut flowers daily. Check stored produce and flower bulbs for rot, shriveling, or excess moisture. Discard any damaged items. Most houseplants require less water in the winter because growth is slow or stopped. Check the soil for dryness before watering. Move houseplants to brighter windows, but don’t place plants in drafty places or against cold windowpanes. Potted spring-flowering bulbs forced into early blooming can make good […]


December Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check houseplant leaves for brown, dry edges, which indicates too little relative humidity in the house. Increase humidity by running a humidifier, grouping plants or using pebble trays. Extend the lives of holiday plants such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus by placing them in a cool, brightly lit area that is free from warm or cold drafts. Houseplants may not receive adequate light because days are short and gloomy. Move […]


November Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) As houseplant growth slows, apply less fertilizer and water. If plants are dropping many leaves, move them closer to sunny exposures, such as west- and south-facing windows. Artificial lights may be needed to supplement particularly dark rooms. Pot spring-flowering bulbs with tips exposed to force into bloom indoors. Moisten soil and refrigerate 10 to 13 weeks. Transfer to a cool, sunny location, and allow an additional three to four weeks […]


Cut Back Perennials Now or Later?


Gardeners often ask, “When is the best time to cut back the dead tops of herbaceous perennials (stems die back to the ground each year)? Should we cut them in fall as the tops fade? Or wait until spring, just before new growth begins?” The answers depend, in part, on the specific plant and whether disease or insect pests are a factor. For most healthy plants, leaving plant tops over winter is fine and, in […]


October Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Keep poinsettia in complete darkness for 15 hours each day — for example, between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. — for eight to 10 weeks until red bracts begin to show. Pot spring-flowering bulbs to force into bloom indoors. Moisten soil and refrigerate 10 to 13 weeks. Transfer to a cool, sunny location, and allow an additional three to four weeks for blooming. Houseplants, especially those grown outdoors during the […]


Don’t let sap-sucking squash bugs get old


Q: We have been battling squash bugs for years. This year we went to preventive measures. Well, they are back. I now need to know what can we do to apply to kill them on contact. We are totally organic here. – T.H., Bremen, Indiana A: Squash bugs can be a persistent pest on all of the cucurbits, but especially on squash and pumpkins. This pest overwinters as adults in crop residue or nearby weeds, then fly to […]


September Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Prepare storage areas for overwintering tender flower bulbs and garden produce. Thanksgiving (or Christmas) cactus can be forced into bloom for the Thanksgiving holidays. Provide 15 hours of complete darkness each day, for instance, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., for approximately eight weeks. Keep temperature at about 60-65 degrees F. Temperatures of 55°F will cause flower buds to set without dark treatment. Dig and repot herbs, or take cuttings, […]


Her ‘Sensation’ lilac looks different this year. Enjoy!


Q: I have had a ‘Sensation’ lilac for several years. It has always produced lovely pinkish purple flowers edged in white. But this year it produced a few odd clusters that had only pale pink flowers. What causes this to happen? Should I prune off the odd branches? A: Many horticultural cultivars of plants, particularly those with interesting color variegation, begin as genetic mutations (sometimes called sports) of the species. If the sport with the […]


August Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Take cuttings from annual garden plants such as impatiens, coleus, geraniums and wax begonias to overwinter indoors. Root the cuttings in media such as moist vermiculite, perlite, peat moss or potting soil, rather than water. Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting. Cut flowers from the garden to bring a little color indoors, or dry for everlasting arrangements. YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals, and fruits) Check trees and shrubs that have been […]


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